Obesity and psoriasis

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A number of recent reports have highlighted an association between psoriasis and obesity. In this study from the US, researchers investigated obesity and smoking habits in a group of patients with psoriasis enrolled in the Utah Psoriasis Initiative (UPI) and compared them with individuals in the three databases from the normal population. Investigators found that the prevalence of obesity in patients within the UPI population (34%) was substantially higher than that in the general Utah population (18%). There was no apparent association between psoriatic arthritis and obesity and obesity did not appear to have an adverse influence the response to any form of treatment. The prevalence of smoking in the UPI patients (37%) was also higher than in the general population (13%). In addition, there was a higher prevalence of smokers in the obese UPI patients (25%) than in obese subjects without psoriasis (9%).

Comment: The high prevalence of obesity and smoking in patients with psoriasis is an interesting finding. It suggests that doctors treating psoriatic patients need to be alert to other conditions which may have an adverse effect on long-term health. It is also interesting to speculate as to whether losing weight and stopping smoking in these patients would improve their psoriasis, or their response to treatment.

Reference: Herron MD, Hinckley M, Hoffman MS et al. Impact of Obesity and Smoking on Psoriasis Presentation and Management. Arch Dermatol. 2005;141:1527-1534.

Article prepared by:
Dr David Ashton MD PhD
27 April 2009